We ain’t no Vegas chapel – inundated pastor

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A Queenstown pastor says his church is no Vegas-style wedding chapel – after requests swarmed in following a Chinese star’s nuptials. 

St Peter’s vicar Rt Rev Dr David Coles says he’s fielding daily enquiries from couples around the world keen to marry there since Chinese celebrity Yao Chen tied the knot at the church in November. 

St Peter’s has become the backdrop to hundreds of wedding photos in recent months, whether the couples married there or not. 

Its explosion in popularity follows last year’s highly-publicised wedding of actress Chen – the world’s third most followed micro-blogger behind Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber with 32 million followers on China’s version of Twitter. 

Destination Queenstown re­­­cord­­­ed 40 million dis­­­­cussion items on Weibo about the wedding and almost 7000 media articles. 

But Coles says he has no plans to turn the historic church into a Vegas-style wedding chapel anytime soon. 

“We get emails every day from different parts of the world enquiring about getting married here, which is fine,” Coles says. 

“Some think it’s just a venue that can be hired and they can bring their celebrant in – we don’t do that, we operate as a Christian church. 

“We correspond with them and explain it’s an Anglican church, we offer Christian marriage services.” 

Since the Chen wedding, DQ has hosted New Zealand-based Chinese tour operators on a wedding-orientated famil, which visited St Peter’s. 

“We welcomed that but we’re not about to become a wedding chapel like Las Vegas or something like that,” Coles says. 

Coles says every Chinese tourist who comes to Queenstown now knows about St Peter’s. 

“It’s great, it’s good for Queenstown. 

“The church is open every day for people to come and pray, or just have a look and take pictures. 

“We’re a bit like a cathedral in that sense, everybody’s welcome,” Coles adds.